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What is a Study Aid?
A study aid is any tool or technique that is used to help your brain absorb information and store it for later reference (during a test or exam). Study aids can range from note cards and study techniques, to nutritional supplements and vitamins.
What Causes Study Difficulties?
Just like a plant needs food and water to grow, the brain needs cellular nutrition to function at its best level. So where does it get this cellular nutrition? If we follow a healthy diet and exercise, the brain should function pretty well; however, in the modern world, food is not always as healthy as it should be.
If the brain does not get enough mineral and vitamin content, memory and learning can suffer. In many third world countries this is evident, as poor nutrition directly correlates to learning skills and poor education. The brain is made up of three parts – the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain, and it is the forebrain that controls memory and how we file away information when it is learned.
Memory is very important – the things we’ve learned are first processed in the cortex, and then, if we sense that this information is important enough to remember permanently, it’s passed inward to the hippocampus and amygdala for long-term storage and retrieval. To make this process easier and more effective, study aids can help the brain to remember information more readily.
Help for Studying
Conventional and over-the-counter study aids may contain large amounts of caffeine to keep a student awake and in concentration mode. However, this is unhealthy for the body, and will usually result in extreme fatigue when the study period is over. Another concern with conventional study aids is the disruption of sleep patterns and the inability to fall asleep (because the mind is so over-worked). For these reasons, over-the-counter study aids should be researched very carefully and healthier options should be considered.
More Information on Studying
Tips for studying
Before you start on any project, including preparation for an exam or test, it’s important to be mentally and physically prepared. As early as a week before the exam, it’s a good idea to:
- Get enough sleep. Late nights in the weeks before your exam will put your ‘body clock’ out and affect your memory and your ability to stay alert and focused.
- Eat healthy. If you are not eating well, you cannot expect yourself to perform well in school, or anything else. Make sure you are eating right! Keep some healthy snacks with you while you are studying!
- Get enough exercise. Make sure you keep your energy levels steady. Even small 5 minute breaks to stretch your body while you are studying will make all the difference!